Specialist services

Whether it’s for yourself or for your business, there may come a time when you need to plan for a future change or to tackle an unexpected ‘one-off’ event. Our experienced team can provide specialist help with:

Business planning

For many business owners, the daily demands of running a business leave little time for long-term planning. This can place your business in a vulnerable financial position if there is a change in ownership or misfortune strikes.

One of the most significant challenges you can face as the owner of a small- or medium-sized business is a change in its ownership structure. If you manage the transition well, the new ownership arrangements should enable you to carry on with business as usual and have a minimal effect on your day-to-day operations. Managed poorly, however, a change in ownership could become a costly distraction to you, your management team and employees, possibly even sending negative signals to your customers, banks and competitors.

We can help you build a robust succession plan that takes your long-term aspirations into account and also allows for contingencies. For example, for a family-owned business this may include a handover plan to family members. For a partnership, it might lay out a framework for a partner to exit the business or for a total liquidation.

It is also possible to plan for the impact of unforeseen changes, for example, if you or a business partner are struck down by a long-term illness or disability or die unexpectedly. We can build a risk protection strategy into your business plan using ‘key person’, income protection and trauma insurance. Your risk protection strategy can also include business overheads insurance and insurance to protect assets and stock against theft and damage.

In addition, we can consider the tax implications of your business interests when addressing your personal estate planning needs.

To find out how we can help you build a robust and comprehensive business plan, call 08 8260 2687 or email us.

Estate planning

It will undoubtedly be a difficult time for your family and loved ones when you die. However, with sound estate planning, you can ease their burden by ensuring that your affairs are managed by someone you trust, your assets are transferred according to your wishes, and any tax liabilities are minimised.

The first and most fundamental step in estate planning is to consider making a valid will. Your will sets out who you want to administer your estate (the executor) and how you wish your assets to be distributed. If you die without a will and are deemed ‘intestate’, your estate could be distributed according to the relevant state legislation. This may result in a distribution that is different from your wishes, add considerably to the time and cost involved, and open up the possibility of a legal challenge.

Another important element of estate planning is to think about having a current power of attorney in place. A power of attorney allows you to nominate a trusted family member or friend to make decisions and act on your behalf.

If you have a large, financially complex asset base, your estate planning needs may also include establishing some form of testamentary trust or asset management structure to help ensure your assets are passed on smoothly and tax-effectively.

Your superannuation is not automatically included in your will as part of your estate or assets, so it is important that you consider completing a binding death benefit nomination that will direct your super fund on how to deal with your superannuation.

As you might expect, estate planning involves legal as well as financial specialists. While a solicitor can take care of the legal aspects of your will, we can look at your total financial picture and help you with a broad range of issues such as funding and protecting your estate, avoiding challenges to your will, and minimising tax.

To find out how we can help you with estate planning, call 08 8260 2687 or email us.

Salary sacrificing

Salary sacrificing involves  a request by you to  your employer to make a super contribution  from your pre-tax salary.

Whatever your age or stage of work, making salary sacrifice contributions can   be a tax-effective way to top up your super and it could also reduce the income tax you pay.

Investment earnings in super are taxed at a maximum of 15%.  If you invest outside super, the earnings would be taxed at your personal income tax rate (up to a maximum of 46.5%). This tax reduction means you have a larger amount to invest, which can make a big difference over time. Although you pay contributions tax on the money going into the super fund, a lower gross salary could mean you pay less income tax.

We can help you structure a salary package with your employer and incorporate salary sacrifice into your superannuation and retirement planning strategy.

When you get closer to retirement, you could take advantage of a transition to retirement strategy, which makes it possible to access some of your super in the form of a pre-retirement pension while you are still working. If you have reached your ‘preservation age’ (which varies, starting at age 55 if you were born before 1 July 1960) and are still working, we can show you how you could salary sacrifice into your super while simultaneously drawing a pre-retirement pension. This tax-effective strategy could help increase your retirement savings.

To find out how a salary sacrifice strategy could work for you, call 08 8260 2687 or email us.

Retrenchment

If you are retrenched, you’ll have a lot of issues to consider. For some, retrenchment can lead to an exciting new beginning. For others, it can be a source of emotional turmoil with the potential to cloud good judgement. Whatever your situation, it’s important to get sound financial advice on your entitlements and how you can make the most of the money you receive.

If your employment termination payment has a number of different components, we can explain what each component is, estimate its tax liability, and explain the implications of the various options available to you.

We’ll talk to you about your plans and whether you expect to continue working full time or part time, or retire early. If you’re unsure how best to use your lump sum payment, we’ll consider your financial situation and show you different options. For example, we might look at whether it is better to reduce your mortgage or contribute to your super.

If you decide to invest all or some of the money, we can recommend investments based on your particular needs, situation and risk profile.

To find out how we can help you make the most of your redundancy payment, call 08 8260 2687 or email us.

Social security/Centrelink

When planning for your financial future, it is important to find out if you qualify for any of the government benefits available to individuals and families. These include (but are not limited to) the Age Pension, Mature Age Allowance, Family Tax Benefit, Parenting Payment and Disability Support Pension. There is also a range of benefits for service veterans.

As well as the Age Pension, retirees may be eligible for benefits including the Health Care Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card and the Pharmaceutical Allowance. Eligibility criteria apply to each benefit. These criteria can be quite complex and can change over time.

The Age Pension can form the cornerstone of some people’s retirement income. We can help you structure your investments and assets to maximise your chances of qualifying for a pension. We’ll review your situation and look at your assets, including property, investments and superannuation savings, and assess how these could affect your social security entitlements.

To find out how we can help you maximise your social security entitlements, call or email us.